Apparently, less than 2% of the population now go to Anglican church on Sunday. So, what are they doing instead? And how does this reflect the nation’s identity?
For the past decade, photographer Matt Writtle has been documenting the habits of a nation on its traditional day of rest, to see how they reflect our increasingly secular society. He selected 12 subjects spanning a range of ages, backgrounds and locations across England, from a group of blind ramblers and a halal chicken farmer to a football fan and shoppers at Ikea.
Published after a successful Kickstarter campaign, his resulting photo book, Sunday, tells the story of 12 English Sundays and offers a snapshot of 21st century England.
Matt Writtle is an award-winning portrait and documentary photographer based in London. Since 1992, he has travelled the world documenting news, social and humanitarian issues for national and international publications such as The Times, London Evening Standard, The Guardian, New York Times, The Australian and the Hong Kong Standard.
After four years living and working abroad, he returned to England and noticed a distinct cultural shift: church attendance had continued to decline while Sunday trading legislation and the growth of the internet had contributed to faster-paced, 24/7 lifestyles, making it harder for people to switch off from work and the world. It was this shift that inspired Sunday.
Sunday: A Portrait of 21st Century England is available to buy at The Photographers’ Gallery Bookshop and through www.mattwrittle.com from 26 October. The book will launch at The Photographer’s Gallery, on 26 October, with an accompanying exhibition at A-side B-side Gallery in London from 2 to 7 November 2017.
All images courtesy of Matt Writtle